Chapter 18

You know, it is actually pretty amazing what you can find out from the internet. And slightly frightening. After I hang up I type his number from the caller ID and find his house. He lives in town next to the retirement home. Figures.

Aunt Sandra's car is slow as it crawls along the side streets sweeping through the town, but I get there with two minutes to spare. His house is two stories, painted white with green shutters, and marigolds are planted all along the front. The garage door is open, and I notice Henry's car is the only one there. His parents must be out. It is the vision of the perfect happy home for the perfect happy family. But when I knock on the door, and Jackie answers, I remember that isn't necessarily the case.

"Ada!" She shouts, flinging her arms around me, a smile breaking across her face. The red patch of skin looks like a line of smeared lipstick. I hug her back, tentatively, and she pulls back to look into my eyes. She is wearing white and black checkered shorts and a gray tank top, her brown hair pulled back into a slick ponytail. In one way she looks as if she just rolled out of bed, but in another she looks like she just got back from a fashion shoot in New York City.

"We heard about Sandy. I'm so, so sorry. But I'm positive she'll be fine." For some reason, I don't react the way I did with her brother. Be it her reassuring smile or my overwhelming pity for her, I just grin back.

"Thanks," I say. She invites me into a hallway with a flight of stairs to the right. We travel further and I see a modern kitchen, complete with a tray of cupcakes sitting lonely on the counter. We make a right and she tugs me to a couch which sits in front of a plasma screen TV. One might think it is too big for the room, but to me it fits in perfectly with the homey decor. "Nice," I nod appreciatively.

She laughs, agreeing. "Henry got it for me last Christmas! It was supposed to go in my room, but I figured it would be more appreciated down here. Hey, speaking of! Wanna see my room?" She hops back up and I'm about to reluctantly follow, not wanting to seem rude by being disinterested, when Henry walks downstairs.

His eyebrows shoot up the moment he sees me. "Ada! I didn't even hear you come in." He walks over in jeans and a blue long sleeved t-shirt, his brown hair rumpled. He seems as if he is going to hug me, but stops midway and backs up. I sort of appreciate his respect for my space, but also wish he hadn't stopped himself.

"How's it going?" I ask, stupidly.
"Fine, thanks for asking. Hey, I'm sorry again, about Sandra..." I nod, acknowledging his condolence. 
"Thanks. Yeah, I haven't heard anything else. I told the doctors to call my cell if she woke up." I pat my coat pocket which holds my cellphone. He nods, casting his eyes downward, but not before I see him glance at Jackie, who is standing there watching our exchange.

Her eyes widen as she catches his. "Oh...oh yes, I forgot about the, um, trig homework I have. Okay bye!" She giggles, prancing from the room.

He grins impishly at me, the silence making me blush.
"So," he starts, "what do you want to do today?" I swallow, something I tend to do when nervous.
"Whatever you want. Something to get my mind off of Aunt Sandra, preferably."

He bites his lip as he things, and I flip my phone over in my pocket, playing with it as he stares at me.

His eyes suddenly light up. "Ah ha, I got it!"

The End

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